We are currently working with clients who are migrating to Office 2007 and Office 2010. Migrating from 2007 to 2010 is straightforward and raises few issues for Word templates because 2010 is a development of 2007 . However the move from Office 2003 to 2007 and 2010 requires considerably more input.
Each new release from Microsoft of Office brings new features and capability however the transition from Office 2003 to Office 2007/2010 introduced a major overhaul of the interface. The new ribbon was a complete change from the toolbars which had been used for over ten years.
The ribbon interface means that as developers we now have to programme using XML to customise the ribbon, as well as using VBA to develop the macros to simplify the use of templates.
The major implication for users is that whilst the compatibility mode means that documents can work across the different versions, Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010 templates will not run in Word 2003.
It is rarely possible for large organisations to migrate all their staff to a new version of Microsoft Office at the same time. Typically they have a rolling programme so documents may need to edited on computers using either 2003 or 2007/2010.
A Word 2007 template (.dotx or .dotm) will not run in 2003 but a Word 2003 template will work in 2007 albeit in a restricted fashion. The buttons from a custom 2003 template toolbar wil displayed in the Add-Ins tab of the 2007 ribbon making the template awkward to use. To address this we can create a 2003 and a 2007/2010 template (essentially it is changing the interface between the custom toolbar in 2003 and a tab in the ribbon in 2007). However a document created with one template will not automatically link to the other template when it is moved from a computer using Word 2003 to one running 2007.
We can smooth this process by creating a macro which, when the document is opened, will automatically check the version of Word the computer is running and then link the document to the relevant 2003 or 2007/2010 template.
Many organisations find that moving users from the toolbar in Word 2003 to the ribbon in Word 2007/2010 a challenge. They often find it difficult or frustrating to find familiar Word features. We feel that Office 2007/2010 has been optimised for the home user rather than corporate user. As a result it offers even more opportunities to fiddle and produce a document which bears little relation to the corporate image, or house style.
Our response has been to create a dedicated client tab on the ribbon.
This allows users simple access to 95% of the features they need for their everyday work - via both standard office features and bespoke macro buttons. The result is a template which is simpler to use – saving time and creating reliably styled corporate documents.
The client tab on the ribbon becomes available when the a document is opened which uses the template. As an alternative we can create a global template which means that the client tab is available whenever Word is open.
Linked with a template and a set of simple to access commands a typical user is able to create easily and consistently professional documents in line with the corporate style.